What is age discrimination?
Legally speaking, discrimination is defined as: a distinction, exclusion or preference based upon a legally prohibited reason (ex: age, nationality, gender, political affiliation, sexual orientation, etc…).
In employment, age discrimination can be defined as suffering negative treatment because of your age. This can run the range from social isolation or harassment to being forced out or dismissed due to your age.
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What are the signs of age discrimination?
- Being pressured to leave your position
- Being excluded from decision making process
- Being frozen out
- Being demoted or having your role downgraded
- Being terminated
- Being told your position no longer exists
- If positions are eliminated, yours (and other older peoples) is among the first to be eliminated
- Being asked when you plan to retire
- Being encouraged to retire
- Being told that you “lack a modern perspective”
- You have been subtly replaced in your role by younger candidates
- Loss of opportunities for promotion (older candidates not considered for advancement behind their current position)
- Excluded and/or marginalized at work
- Being isolated
Age discrimination is exemplified by people treating older executives or managers less respectfully in certain circumstances. Employers can unfairly and falsely presume that they do not possess a modern outlook and that they are not innovative. Employers may also assume that older executives are looking to retire shortly and cannot be part of any long term plans. Often these assumptions are wrong, but they nonetheless can lead employers to subtly (or not so subtly) try to push those executives to leave. If you have experienced any of the signs listed above, you may have been subjected to age discrimination and should consult an expert labour lawyer to help you.
What to do
If you think you are a victim of age discrimination, consult a labour lawyer immediately so that you can:
- Determine whether anything can be done to help your situation
- Figure out the right strategy and approach
Do not sign anything. Do not say anything to anyone employed by your employer. Start taking very careful notes about what is going on at work.